NJ Rules Propose More Development in Coastal Zone

Please take a good look at the picture above.  The state of NJ just guaranteed that we will all go through that living hell again.

I guess the state didn’t get the message we posted yesterday about the Rutgers Climate Adaptation Alliance’s new reports on the impacts of climate change.  It seems like they learned nothing from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy either.

Because today was the final public hearing on a 1000-page overhaul of the state’s development rules in the coastal zone and guess what?  They call for more development in these areas while also making it easier to get these development permits.  Kirk Moore of the Asbury Park Press nails it here. 

Climate Impacts in NJ, Local Expert Reports

The Rutgers Climate Institute has done great things to help us Re-Think the Coast.  Most recently their “working briefs” as the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance on climate impacts in NJ found here. The reports are available for download at that site, most are not too long, and they are full of good advice for the NJ Coast. Their working brief on Coastal Communities includes information on what other East Coast States are doing to deal with climate change and sea level rise.

There is much more on their website here http://climatechange.rutgers.edu/

Op-Ed on Insurance Companies and Climate Change

Note this piece says we are “socializing the risk” for sea level rise in places like Florida.  Remember the other side – that we privatizing the benefit (living near the water.) Eugene Linden in the LA Times

We wrote about this insurance company lawsuit against municipalities before, with the company claiming the towns should have known and prepared for the damage caused by flooding and sea level rise.  We will follow it closely.



Common Sense Flood Insurance Reforms Reversed

The Biggert-Waters Act in Congress moved the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, towards becoming more self-sufficient and more solvent.  In recent years the NFIP has gone $17 Billion in debt after Hurricane Katrina and more recently Sandy.  When NFIP is in debt, money is taken from the Treasury (all taxpayers) instead of having coastal dwellers (flood ins. ratepayers) actually pay for flooded private property.   Yes, passing Biggert-Waters meant you would have had  to pay more to insure your summer or primary home built in a flood or high hazard zone.

But wait, Congress reversed itself by passing another law essentially keeping NFIP in debt and keeping US taxpayers on the hook for flood costs.  Huffington Post article here by Elliot Negin.

Senate Delays National Flood Insurance Program’s Solvency

Th US Senate reversed itself on the Biggert-Waters Act, which would put the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, on a path to solvency, but it would also increase flood insurance premiums for many Americans.

The NFIP has been billions of dollars in the red (underwater), since 2005 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Biggert Waters was designed to fix that and make insurance premiums (payments) bring in as much as the program pays out in claims. NY Times take by Coral Davenport, January 30, 2014.

You just can’t have it both ways people.  You can’t rail against failed government programs, and wasteful government spending, but be in favor of a program that brings in $1 for every $2 it pays out to people who flooded in flood-prone areas.  It took Congress almost 90 days to finally send relief to Sandy affected areas.  The first thing they did?  They put $10 billion into the NFIP.  A failed program $17 billion in debt at the time.  People in NJ cheered, and then they went back to supporting the sequester cuts, not raising the debt ceiling, and the government shutdown.

Great background report on NFIP here.

Paying for Extreme Weather

Yes, we want you to Rethink the Jersey Shore and the entire coast.  But US Strong wants us to re-think how we pay for all of this stuff.  We are approaching the anniversary of the day Congress passed a Sandy relief bill.  It only took them 91 days.  Here are stories from 1/22/14 about US Strong’s Plan to make sure that does not happen again.  Kirk Moore’s article in the Asbury Park Press, Continue reading “Paying for Extreme Weather”

Raising Streets & Entire Islands – Not Just Homes

Raising houses may or may not be enough as oceans rise.  What about the ground-level and below ground infrastructure around such homes?  Will we need to raise public infrastructure and entire islands?

A thoughtful treatment of the issue by Sarah Watson in this Press of Atlantic City article December 8, 2013.  It references a 1990 study by James Titus at EPA, a summer-homeowner on Long Beach Island, NJ who works at EPA and makes a case study of LBI.  It prompted us to add the study to our “More Information” Page, see the bottom of the page here.


Flood Maps Left NYC Unprepared for Sandy’s Surge

Pro Publica did some excellent investigative reporting on the state of FEMA flood maps in the lead up to Sandy.  In the early 2000’s it seems that FEMA invested only in digitizing old flood maps instead of updating the data on what areas would now flood.  An interview with authors Theodoric Meyer and Al Shaw on WNYC aired on December 6, 2013.  But don’t just listen to the 4 minute interview, read the story below and see the interactive map of where floods were predicted compared to where they occurred.


Report on National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP

The Union of Concerned Scientists put out an excellent report on the National Flood Insurance Program called Overwhelming Risk: Rethinking Flood Insurance in a World of Rising Seas.   Hey, they got our name in there, Rethink, so we thought we’d take a look.
This is an excellent report with details about what states carry the most risk, which state have the most properties in the program, and the value of those properties insured, again, broken down by state.  There are excellent recommendations as well for how to save the program for the future.